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Guy Winch, Ph.D.

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What Your Emotional Health Has in Common With Cinderella

Posted: 12/18/2013 3:50 pm

How much do you care about your emotional health, your life satisfaction, and your happiness? You might think you care about these things, that they are important to you, and that you pay attention to them -- but your actions probably say otherwise.

Allow me to prove it to you.

Let's compare your emotional health (your mind and emotions) to its two 'sisters,' your physical health (your body) and your dental health (your teeth). Consider the following questions:

1. When you injure yourself physically, do you typically take action? For example, if you cut yourself, do you stop the bleeding, apply antibacterial ointment and use a bandage, or do you walk around bleeding with an exposed wound? Do you take daily actions to monitor and protect your physical health? Do you watch the weather to dress appropriately, do you take vitamins, do you make at least some effort to eat healthily, do you go to the gym or do some form of physical exercise, do you get annual checkups?

2. When you have tooth pain, when hot or cold fluids make you wince, do you see the dentist or do you walk around for weeks ignoring the pain? Do you brush your teeth once, twice or three times a day? Do you floss? Have you had braces to make your teeth straighter and healthier? Do you visit the dentist for checkups and X-rays to make sure your teeth are strong and healthy?

Chances are you do many if not all of these things because your physical health and your teeth are important to you, you care about them, and you want them to thrive, be healthy, and serve you for many years to come.

But now let's look at your actions concerning your emotional health.

3. When you sustain an emotional injury like a severe rejection or a big failure, if you're burdened by unresolved guilt or feel trapped by loneliness, when your mind is hijacked by brooding and worrying or when your self-esteem is low -- do you "treat" these emotional wounds in any way? Do you take steps to make sure they don't "fester" and get worse? Do you take any regular action to monitor and protect your emotional health? What is the emotional or psychological equivalent of brushing and flossing you practice on a daily basis?

Chances are you do few or none of these things.

Yes, you might believe your emotional health and wellness are important to your quality of life and your happiness but your actions, or lack thereof, tell a different story. The truth is, almost all your care, love, and efforts go to the two "sisters" -- to your physical health and your teeth, while sadly, your emotional health is as neglected, as ignored, and as marginalized as... Cinderella.

But you can change that. You can prioritize your emotional health as much as you do your physical and dental health. You can learn how to treat emotional wounds when you sustain them. You can monitor your mood and self-esteem and take actions to boost them when they are low. You can adopt the daily practice of emotional hygiene. And by doing these things, you can significantly boost your emotional wellness, your happiness and your overall life satisfaction.

You can invite Cinderella to the ball...

 

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